Advertising
Advertising

5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

Building relationships is important to all aspects of our lives, both inside and outside of the workplace. The ability to build meaningful relationships with others is important for a variety of reasons, and in today’s environment you cannot just sit back and hope others will simply approach you. You need to be proactive, attend social events, swap contact information, and network to get to where you want to be.

Depending upon your personality type, the types of questions to ask when you first meet someone and wish to build a relationship with them may vary. However, there are a few areas that should be covered in your conversation so that you can have a meaningful discussion and get to know the other person on a deeper level. This recent article by Business Insider highlights some successful networking strategies that include the importance of getting to know the other person and finding common ground.

How do you make the transition from casual chatting to actually building a relationship with someone? Here are five questions to help you get started:

What inspired you to pursue this area of business?

Advertising

Finding out what inspired someone to pursue a particular area of business provides insight into his or her goals, interests, and passions. Chances are this person is working in their career field because it is what they love or have always wanted to do. Asking this question will help you to take a deeper look into their motivation.

Talking about inspiration in business is becoming more and more common. In fact, LinkedIn has a whole series titled “What Inspires Me” that taps into the motivation that keeps LinkedIn Influencers going. I am very passionate about my business and love talking about how I got started. I enjoy connecting with other individuals who are entrepreneurs and talking about their story as well. It helps to build a common ground between us.

What are your hobbies?

This is a simple, yet important question to ask when getting to know another person. Having information about their hobbies provides insight into their life outside of the office. You might also learn about a shared hobby or connection with your new contact. While it’s important to understand another individual’s work goals and motivations, learning about their personal interests provides an opportunity for relaxed conversation over a topic that they will be willing to open up about. In my experience, I have found that discussing hobbies with another individual is a great way to build a deeper connection with them. Often times you will learn of a shared hobby or skill, and this will create an opportunity for a stronger conversation. In addition to this, some people are lucky enough to turn their hobby into a job.

Advertising

Did you find someone who enjoys golf as much as you do? Invite them out to play a round of golf and continue the conversation during this time. You never know what this outing may lead to.

What is the biggest challenge you face in business?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the other person’s problems. No matter where you are or what your line of business, you will face challenges both big and small. According to an article in Entrepreneur, growing revenue, hiring employees, and increasing profit are all challenges for businesses, and many entrepreneurs, including myself, agree with this.

Talking about challenges creates common ground in business. For example, the individual you are talking to may have a hard time finding the right employees, and perhaps you have a tip that can help them. Maybe you can provide a solution to their situation or refer them to someone who can help. This teaches that person that you are someone they can trust, which will help them open up to you later.

Advertising

What is the area of your business that you are focused on expanding?

Often times, the end goal of building relationships in business is to form a mutually beneficial partnership and provide one another with leads, customers, and potential partners. Because of this, understanding the goals of the person you are talking to is critical. What do they want? Who is their target partner? What are their ideas for expanding their business?

I have specific areas of my business and services that I am focused on expanding in both the near future and within the next few years, and I know everyone has something they would like to improve and grow in their career. Every business should have a plan in place for growth – finding out theirs is simply a matter of engaging in a meaningful conversation and getting to the bottom of their long-term goals and desires.

What is the one legacy you would like to leave behind?

Advertising

This question provides an opportunity for a work connection and personal connection. Asking this question will give you the chance to see what is truly important to the person you are talking to, and I think this is highly necessary for building a successful relationship with someone. No matter who you are or where you are in life, everyone has a legacy that they would like to leave behind. What is yours and how do you plan on achieving it?

These conversation starters will help provide you with information about another person’s desires, motivation, and future goals and will allow you to form a deeper relationship and connection with them. When striking up conversation with the other person and asking questions that build a trusting relationship, it is important to remember not to be distracted. Separate yourself from technology or any other barriers so you can truly be in the moment and get to know the other individual.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: www.flazingo.com via flickr.com

More by this author

The 8 Best Ways to Follow Up After a Networking Event 3 Ways to Learn Something New from Your Coworkers How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance in the Age of Technology 5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

Trending in Work

1 Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead 2 How to Change Careers When It Seems Too Late 3 How to Start a Startup Fast: 5 Essential Steps 4 7 Steps to Achieve Career Success on Your Own Terms 5 13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 10, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

1. Make Time for You

If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

Advertising

2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

4. Work on Your Personal Brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

Advertising

Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

5. Be Accountable

Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

Advertising

This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

8. Learn to Embrace Failure

Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

Advertising

“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

9. Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

10. Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

Final Thoughts

You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next